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Ada McGuinness (alias Edith Mitchell, Edith Cavanagh), Special photograph number D33, 26 July 1929, Central Police Station, Sydney
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Title:
Ada McGuinness (alias Edith Mitchell, Edith Cavanagh), Special photograph number D33, 26 July 1929, Central Police Station, Sydney
Creator:
New South Wales. Police Dept.
Date:
1929
Format:
Glass plate negative: b&w; 4.75 x 6.5
Subject:
Description:
McGuinness is listed in the NSW Police Gazette of 25 September 1929 as having been convicted of two charges of having cocaine illegally in her possession, for which she was sentenced to concurrent six and twelve months imprisonment with hard labour. Her daughter Hazel McGuinness also faced the court at the same time, on similar charges, but was released on a bond (see 'Mug shot of Hazel McGuiness'). Police and prosecution witnesses described McGuinness senior, who occupied a terrace house in Hargreave Street, as being one of the most active cocaine dealers in the Darlinghurst area at the time. A police witness described her as 'the most evil woman in Sydney'. In 1925, as 'Edith Cavanagh' she had been sentenced to twelve months (suspended) for having in her possession forged bank notes.
This picture is one of a series of around 2500 "special photographs" taken by New South Wales Police Department photographers between 1910 and 1930. These "special photographs" were mostly taken in the cells at the Central Police Station, Sydney and are, as curator Peter Doyle explains, of "men and women recently plucked from the street, often still animated by the dramas surrounding their apprehension". Doyle suggests that, compared with the subjects of prison mug shots, "the subjects of the Special Photographs seem to have been allowed - perhaps invited - to position and compose themselves for the camera as they liked. Their photographic identity thus seems constructed out of a potent alchemy of inborn disposition, personal history, learned habits and idiosyncrasies, chosen personal style (haircut, clothing, accessories) and physical characteristics."
Published in:
Peter Doyle Crooks like us Historic Houses Trust of NSW, 2009, pp. 249-250, 263.
Source:
Justice & Police Museum ; FP07_0008_014
Rights:
You may save or print this image for research and study. If you wish to use it for any other purposes, you must contact the Historic Houses Trust to request permission.
Material Type:
Picture
Record number:
46365